Economy & Innovation

News about the economy, business, and innovation happening in the St. Louis region.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated at 4:26 p.m. to correct name of Jennifer Mallon's association. It is the National Community Pharmacists Association, not the National Association of Community Pharmacies.

Federal regulators have approved the $29.1 billion merger between pharmacy benefit managers Express Scripts and Medco.

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The Doe Run Co. says production of primary lead at its smelter in the eastern Missouri town of Herculaneum will be suspended for four to six weeks following a fire.

The fire on March 20 occurred at the smelter's electric substation. Doe Run Primary Smelting Division general manager Gary Hughes says damage to the substation is significant.

KellyB. | Flickr

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says the state's unemployment rate dropped in February for the sixth-straight month. 

The department says the February jobless rate fell to 9.1 percent from 9.4 percent in January. That's still much higher than the national 8.3 percent rate.

Department Director Jay Rowell calls the drop a sign that the state continues its steady recovery from recession.

Illinois added 6,500 jobs in February. That's almost double the 3,800 jobs added in January.

(via Flickr/KellyB)

Missouri's unemployment rate fell slightly last month while the state's overall payroll increased by a couple thousand jobs.

The state Department of Economic Development reported Tuesday that Missouri's jobless rate in February dropped a tenth of a percentage point to 7.4 percent, which is its lowest mark since late 2008.

Economic development officials also say Missouri's net nonfarm payroll increased by 2,300 jobs in February.

This is the second straight month that Missouri's payrolls have expanded. More than 21,000 jobs were added last month.

 

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

Illinois added 3,800 jobs in January, and the state unemployment rate fell for the fifth straight month to 9.4 percent.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says the 0.3 percentage point drop in the unemployment rate was the largest decline since September 1992.

The agency says the number of unemployed people dropped by 18,100 in January to 620,300.

Illinois has added 122,900 private sector jobs since January 2010, the first month that numbers increased after 23 consecutive months of declines. The state unemployment rate peaked that month at 11.4 percent.

Joseph Leahy, St. Louis Public Radio

Consumer advocates are pressing Enterprise Rent-a-Car to support a bill to keep rental cars that are subject to federal recall off the road.

Joan Bray of the Consumers Council of Missouri says while the St. Louis-based company has agreed in principle, it should endorse a Congressional amendment named for two sisters who were killed while driving a PT Cruiser under recall.

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

Missouri's unemployment rate fell to 7.5 percent while the state's overall payroll increased by thousands of jobs.

The state Department of Economic Development reported Tuesday that Missouri's net nonfarm payroll increased by 21,100 jobs in January. Officials reported that Missouri had a net of loss of 11,800 jobs in December and a loss of 3,300 jobs in November.

Besides expanding payrolls for the first time in three months, Missouri's unemployment rate in January dropped by half a point to 7.5 percent. That is Missouri's lowest jobless rate since November 2008.

Shell gas station
(via Flickr/dno1967b)

Shell Oil Co. plans to close its oil blending and packaging plant in Roxana, where Shell began operations in 1918.

A company spokeswoman says the Wood River Blending Plant is closing because it needs major upgrades and because it is on property Shell doesn't own.

The closure of the Shell Lubricants site will result in the loss of more than 80 jobs in Roxana, just east of St. Louis. The company says it will also close its regional distribution center in O'Fallon, Mo., which employs more than a dozen people.

Panera Bread plans to add two more pay-what-you-want cafes later this year, part of the company's effort to help feed the hungry in a dignified way.

Panera spokeswoman Kate Antonacci said Thursday that the specific locations won't be announced until spring.

One could open by summer, the other in the fall. A third site is also being considered for later this year.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Following a back-and-forth in which the St. Louis Rams and the St.

Anheuser-Busch announced Monday that it plans to increase production at its Metal Container Corporation in Arnold, resulting in at least 20 new jobs there.

Metal Container Corporation supplies more than 45 percent of the beer brewer's beer cans and 55 percent of its lids in the United States. It also produces cans and lids for soft drink companies, including PepsiCo and Monster Beverage Corporation.

The expansion announced Monday will add about 100,000 square feet to the Arnold facility. It's expected to be complete in 2013.

(via Gov. Nixon's office / video screen capture)

Updated 1:49 p.m. with additional information from the Associated Press on other failed appointments.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced this morning that Jason Hall, Nixon's nominee to be the new director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, has resigned.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission is proposing $124 million in improvements to the Edward Jones Dome in hopes of keeping the Rams in St. Louis.

A lease agreement with the team requires the dome to be among the top 25 percent of all stadiums as measured by various criteria.

If not, the Rams could break the lease after the 2014 season and potentially move. Owner Stan Kroenke has been non-committal about keeping the Rams in St. Louis.

Dome deadline arrives

Jan 31, 2012
(via Wikimedia Commons)

The deadline for the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission to give the Rams a plan for updating the Edward Jones Dome is Wednesday.

The Rams’ lease allows the team to leave in 2015 if the Dome isn’t in the top 25 percent of NFL stadiums.

But since the Dome’s construction in 1995 several impressive stadiums have been built such as the more than a billion dollar Cowboys Stadium.

Sports economist Patrick Rishe, a professor at Webster University, says it would take hundreds of millions of dollars get the Dome in the top tier.

(Courtesy Solutia)

Specialty chemical company Eastman Chemical Co. is buying Solutia Inc. in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $3.38 billion to broaden its presence into emerging markets and expand its product offerings.

The companies value the deal, including debt, at about $4.7 billion.

Solutia shareholders will receive $22 in cash and 0.12 shares of Eastman stock for each share of Solutia that they own. Based on Thursday's closing prices, Solutia shareholders will receive cash and stock valued at $27.65 per Solutia share, a 42 percent premium to the company's closing price.

Ten grants are up for grabs for new businesses that set up shop in St. Louis. A local non-profit, Arch Grants, says it will award the $50,000 grants this May in an effort to bring innovative businesses to the city.

Arch Grants Co-founder Joe Schlafly said the for-profit start-ups that are selected will be required to stay for at least one year.

“St. Louis is not a dog-meat, down place," Schlafly said. "It is a place where things are happening. We’re open for business. We want to be on the short list, not just [on] no list.”

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Gov. Jay Nixon wants to offer larger incentives to a wider variety of automobile parts suppliers as part of a plan to rebuild the automotive industry in Missouri.

Nixon's administration provided details to The Associated Press of a plan the governor has been touting in broad terms for the past couple of weeks.

Nixon is seeking to expand special automotive industry incentives approved in 2010 that have been used to persuade Ford and General Motors to expand operations at Missouri plants. The 2010 law also authorized incentives for suppliers to automakers.

(Courtesy of The Hauser Group)

Jerry Clinton, a longtime St. Louis business leader and philanthropist, has died.

A spokeswoman for Clinton says he died Wednesday morning. He was 74 and had cancer.

Clinton was the former president and owner of Grey Eagle Distributors. He sold the company in 2005.

Clinton was instrumental in the effort to bring an expansion football team to St. Louis after the Cardinals left for Arizona in 1988. The effort was unsuccessful, though the Rams moved to St. Louis from Los Angeles in 1994.

(via Flickr/The Consumerist)

If you've noticed your grocery bill has gotten higher lately, you're not imagining things.

Food prices in Missouri rose in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the Missouri Farm Bureau's year-end Marketbasket Survey.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

An Illinois Congressman and US transportation officials are talking up a Granite City river port to a Chinese delegation exploring new trade routes to the American market.

Congressman Jerry Costello touted the access America's Central Port has to railroads and highways during a visit from China's Vice Minister of Maritime Affairs, Xu Zuyuan.

Costello said a harbor to be completed next year will give a strategic advantage in moving imports and exports.

(via William K Busch Brewing Company)

If you've been driving on any of the highways around St. Louis lately you have probably noticed several new green billboards advertising Kräftig beer. Kräftig is brewed by the William K Busch Brewing Company, a new brewery started by Billy Busch, the great grandson of Adolphus Busch. As David Weinberg reports, Billy Busch is hoping his new business is start of the next chapter in the Busch family brewing legacy.

(via Flickr/nan palmero)

Updated 5:05 p.m. with more information, comment

Schlafly Beer's parent company, St. Louis Brewing Inc., is selling 60 percent of its ownership interest to the local investor group Sage Capital.

(via Flichr/justj0000lie)

 

The Sears in Crestwood Court will be among the 100 to 120 stores the company is closing following disappointing holiday sales.

The company released a list Thursday of 79 Sears and Kmart stores to be shuttered across the country.

The company announced the closings Tuesday. It provided no timeframe.

No Kmart stores will be closed in Missouri. The only other Sears to close in the state is in Lee’s Summit.

All Sears and Kmart stores in Illinois will also remain open for now.

(Air Force photo/Capt. Shannon Collins)

Updated at 11:45 a.m. with information from union spokesman Thomas Pinski.

Updated at 12 p.m. with statement from the White House.

Updated at 1:20 p.m. with comments from union president Gordon King and statement from Boeing.

The Obama administration has approved the sale of $30 billion worth of F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia - a move that could mean new jobs at Boeing's defense plant in Hazelwood.

(via Arch Coal)

A subsidiary of St. Louis-based Arch Coal has submitted a successful bid of just over $300 million for the right to mine more than 200 million tons of coal in northeast Wyoming.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced the sale Wednesday, saying the bid by Ark Land Company met or exceeded fair market value for the coal.

The 222 million tons of coal sits beneath more than three square miles of land next to the lease boundary of the Black Thunder Mine in the Powder River Basin.

(photo by Tim Tolle via Flickr Creative Commons)

As Dick Fleming prepares to leave the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association, and his successor Joe Reagan gets ready to move to town from Louisville, they both took time to join us today on St. Louis on the Air.  You can hear their entire conversation in the archives.  In the meantime, here are some highlights from our conversation with Reagan:

(Courtesty RCGA)

St. Louis on the Air will be talking about these recent developments at the RCGA on Wednesday. Join us!

The newest head of St. Louis' Regional Chamber and Growth Association comes to the St. Louis region by way of Louisville, Ky.

Joe Reagan, president of Greater Louisville, Inc. will be the RCGA's new president and CEO effective Feb. 1, 2012.

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A suburban St. Louis company could face nearly $200,000 in fines after the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited 37 health and safety violations in an investigation that began after a fatal accident.

A worker at Resource Management died June 12 in an accident involving a baling machine at the recycling company.

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

Missouri lost 3,300 jobs in November but the state's jobless rate still dropped.

The Department of Economic Development reported Friday evening that the state's unemployment rate dropped three-tenths of a point to 8.2 percent last month.

The decline in nonfarm employments comes after the state reported that it added about 1,100 jobs in October. However, the state reported a net loss of 4,000 nonfarm jobs in September.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis city and St. Louis County officials say they've gotten federal approval that will help local companies compete in the global market. The area's Foreign Trade Zone has expanded to include all of St. Louis County and City.

The expanded zone will allow more local manufacturing and distribution companies to import goods duty-free and avoid other customs fees.

Mayor Francis Slay announced the expansion at Sunset Transportation in south St. Louis. Slay says the approval from the US Department of Commerce also streamlines the time it takes for businesses to qualify.

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